It may not have been everybody’s cup of tea, but Jaume Collet-Serra’s 2009 film “Orphan” was bold and bonkers enough that it made us sit up and pay a little more attention to the director, whose previous efforts had been a “House of Wax” remake and “Goal II: Living the Dream.” He followed “Orphan” with last year’s Liam Neeson vehicle/”Taken” cash-in “Unknown,” and it looks like Collet-Serra enjoyed being in the Neeson business.
The Catalan director looks set to sign on to Joel Silver’s Neeson-starring thriller “Non-Stop,” which takes place on an international flight on which Neeson is forced into shutting down a grave threat (probably swarthy foreigners). Of course, that sounds terribly derivative, but we always think there’s some potential in any of these stripped-back action flicks that can be described as “Die Hard on a…” In Neeson, the project has (and we still can’t quite believe that this has happened to Oskar Schindler) one of this decade’s most bankable action stars, and in Silver they have an experienced producer who’s produced the director’s last two movies.
So what of Collet-Serra? Well, things really don’t seem to be going his way of late. He was attached to the canned “Akira,” missed out on the “300: Battle of Artemisia” gig, and had his CBS pilot for “Quean” axed outright due to legal issues. Last month his name was linked to “Here There Be Monsters” – a sea-serpent flick with Bradley Cooper – although it’s unclear whether “Non-Stop” will prevent his involvement with that project. After flirting with the studio tentpoles we’re not sure a nuts-and-bolts thriller is what Collet-Serra would rather be doing this summer, but at least he’s got Neeson and another chance to showcase why he feels he’s got the ability to step up to the big leagues.